Welcome Back, Students; Take Care, And Be Safe

Published 4:16 pm Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The population of Farmville has just doubled. There was no sonic boom but there are thousands of additional hearts beating all around us. The return of students to Longwood University is unmistakable in every possible way. The added energy is palpable, like a massive transfusion of new blood coursing through our community's veins. We welcome you all.

Within this welcoming embrace there is a word of caution:

Remember that last fall, across Virginia, college students were the victims of violence during the first few weeks of the academic year. We fervently hope there is no repetition, here or elsewhere. But there were attacks in Farmville and common sense can prevent any recurrence.

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Be aware of your surroundings.

If something doesn't feel right, call the police.

Don't text message while walking but do have your cell phone handy to contact 911 if necessary.

Walk in groups.

As Longwood's Vice-President For Student Affairs, Tim Pierson, told the students, faculty, and staff attending last fall's safety forum held on the heels of those attacks, “we all have responsibility to have a safe campus. We can't just rely on the Campus Police or Town Police. Each one of us own our responsibility to think a little bit ahead of time and know what we're doing.”

Longwood President Patrick Finnegan reinforced that message. “This is, as Dr. Pierson said, our group responsibility but it's also an individual responsibility. You have got to be sure that you're doing things in a safe manner and taking the precautions that you need to take.”

And remember that you are surrounded by a community that cares very much about your safety and welfare. All of us will keep our eyes open for you too.